short balls: serena cartoon, federer's fall, janko in the hot seat, and off-topic galore!

Things have been crazy out here the last few days: I helped out at AIDS Walk Los Angeles over the weekend (they raised over $3.9 million!). I had the honor of being Deidre Hall‘s escort. That’s right — Marlena from Days of our Lives! She was so nice and so kind. Kenneth put some photos up… And I’m sending good vibes to everyone stressed out about these SoCal fires. I know what it’s like to have a home threatened by fire… Oh and p.s. chili cheese yam fries are my new love. Now, the tennis…

Number crunching: At the rate that Rafael Nadal is crashing out matches, the Spaniard might soon end his record-setting streak as the World No. 2. And Novak Djokovic‘s march to the top isn’t helping the Spaniard’s cause. (Tennis Diary)

It’s no longer just her TITLES: The folks at HP are giving us more Serena, this time in the form of advertising splayed across Times Square billboards (and on HP’s Serena site). They’re blaxploitation cartoons featuring Serena “Super Fly” Williams in episodes like Knowledge is Power and (my personal fave) Quite a Racket. Check ‘em out.

Federer’s fall: Tennis planet does a quick write-up on David Nalbandian‘s amazing performance against Roger Federer, plus the Argentine’s defeat of Nadal in their first match against each other. We always talk about Federer being tested as the No. 1 player. Perhaps now Nole and Nalbandian can test Nadal as No. 2?

Federer enshrined: His racquet and all-white Nike outfit from the 2007 Wimbledon tourney are all on display at that Grand Slam’s museum. (jetsetters)

String It Like Roger: The latest issue of Play writes about the racquet customization phenomenon, but warns us common folk from getting a racquet just like R-Fed’s, i.e., a “Wilson [K] Factor Six One Tour with a 90-square-inch head” strung with “a Wilson 16 gauge gut main string and a Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power Rough cross string”. It’s super-hard to control, and takes a talent like Roger to use. FYI, the full arsenal of 12 racquets he carries at each tourney costs $3,500 to keep up.

Tipsarevic in hot water: An early-round match between Lleyton Hewitt and Janko Tipsarevic from last January’s Adelaide International is one of the 140 matches under investigation as the ATP continues to try and clear its sullied name. (SMH)

gael garcia bernal and bjork

(OT) Gigi and Bjork: My first love Gael Garcia Bernal and Bjork struck a pose at a premiere of Gig’i’s movie El Passado in Rio. See a NSFW trailer here.

(OT) Old prints, new tricks: NYT‘s Cathy Horyn reflects on the last round of fashion weeks.

(OT) Low-cost long-haul: A new airline — Oasis Hong Kong — wants to give my love Cathay Pacific a run for its money. I can only hope that there’s room for both to play. (NYT)

(OT) Can Taste Be Taught?: As much as we’d like to think that taste can be taught (I will home-school Radek Stepanek if I have to), it’s just hard to shake off old habits. (NYT)

(OT) Shulman downtown: The Getty Institute is showcasing the work of architecture photographer Julius Shulman at the L.A. Central Library through Jan. 20. Check it out. (LAT)

(OT) From a favela rises a Gaudi: This one’s for you, Mikey. (BBC)

(OT) And this one, too: A new species of dinosaur has been found in Argentina — the plant-eating, 100-foot-long Futalognkosaurus dukei. (BBC)

(OT) Pissin’ my pants: The Economist economizes by changing their model for delivering content. A good chunk of their archive will now be free to access. (Guardian)

tennis pros: stop ruining your clothes!

An inactive Maria Sharapova (who pulled out of Zurich and Linz) is hoping that ridding herself of her cursed Nike U.S. Open day dress will help her at the Year End Championships. The dress will be autographed and auctioned, with proceeds benefitting the Maria Sharapova Foundation. (via DTL)

Ok, can we talk about this for a sec? I don’t understand why she has to autograph the dress (over the right bust), thus rendering it unwearable. Perhaps she doesn’t want anyone else wearing it? Perhaps the autograph adds more value to the item? It would be MUCH better if they just left it as is (a la the protocol of Hollywood-driven Clothes Off Our Backs.

Roger Federer fans were griping about the same thing when his “RF” hats went for auction on his site. They were totally willing to shell out the big bucks to get the limited-edition goods, but many were turned off because the hats would have a visible Federer autograph (and who wants to wear that?). They even started a petition

more trophies: ferreira beats courier in dallas

wayne ferreira - stanford championships 2007

McEnroe Declares “The Age of Love Is Over” In Third-Place Win Over Philippoussis That He Dedicates To “The Old Girls”

DALLAS, TEXAS -– Wayne Ferreira of South Africa defeated Jim Courier of the United States 2-6, 6-3, 11-9 (Champions Tie-Break) Sunday to win the $142,000 Stanford Championships, his second title of 2007 on the Outback Champions Series and his third career title on global circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30.

Ferreira collected a paycheck of $46,000 for winning two round-robin matches and the championship match. He also (Continue reading after the cut…)

trophy watch: kissing crystal

trophies - david nalbandian - madrid - justine henin - zurich

More boring trophies from this week’s tournaments: the Zurich Open and the Mutua Madrilena Masters in Madrid. David Nalbandian beat Roger Federer 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 to win his first title of the year. He equaled Novak Djokovic‘s feat of defeating the Worlds No. 1 and 2 back-to-back in the same tournament. (Nole did it at the Rogers Cup.)

And Justine Henin continues her dominance of the women’s tour with her ninth title of the year. (She racked up four of them in this latest 20-match winning streak.) Justine took on Tatiana Golovin in the Zurich Open and won in straight sets — 6-4, 6-4.

More photos — plus men’s doubles results — after the cut…

focus: other kids play in the accessory sandbox

Much ado has been made about Roger Federer‘s bags from Nike: there was his dominatrix duffel for this year’s U.S. Open and the poodle pouch from Wimbledon.

Feliciano Lopez - Nike - Heritage SI Boston bag

But just so you know, the other guys carry them, too. Here’s Feliciano Lopez after his loss to Roger in the quarters of the Mutua Madrilena Masters last week, carrying a take on the Heritage SI Boston bag. You can’t really see it from this photo, but the other side of the carryall has the Nike logo and a swoosh.

Rafael Nadal used the same bag at this year’s U.S. Open.

Buy: The Heritage SI Boston’s on sale for $34.99 (down from $50) at Nike.com.

(photo via Getty Images)

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paper doll serena + digitally preserving tennis memories

paper doll serena

How fun is this?! HP‘s “The Computer is Personal Again” campaign with Serena Williams included this paper doll page with four outfits: (from left to right) an Aneres creation, her Nike 2004 U.S. Open dress, her white 2007 Wimbledon dress, and its pink French Open counterpart.

Moving the outfits onto Serena triggers a short video with comments about each dress from Serena, Jill Smoller (her agent), and her sister Lyndrea Price. Try it out here.

(This is what Masha paper doll outfits should have looked like!)

Meanwhile, I think that HP can take this a step further by customizing the Gwen Stefani tourbook for tennis fans. Imagine your pics folded into a tournament program. An on-site kiosk can print one out for you (it should cheap enough these days) or have a high-res PDF e-mailed. I’m so over the bland programs they hand out.

Anyway, I haven’t quite fleshed out the idea, but I’m just putting it out there. I think it’s cool to get autographs on balls, t-shirts, and caps, but I feel like there could be a novel way of digitally documenting a tennis fan’s experience.

Any thoughts?

nike men’s winter collection

We’re totally over all the assymetry of this winter’s Nike men’s collection.

We’re kinda over the 80s color combo too: Crystal Blue, Deep Red, Mist Grey, and Obsidian (Navy).

That being said, the Spring looks are making the rounds, and we’ll be posting those soon. In the meantime, browse the winter goods:

Power UV Polo (left) and the Global Control Polo.

See the rest of the styles below the cut…

nadal gets the star treatment

There’s definitely someone at Nike taking care of Rafael Nadal. Of all the folks wearing this exact same Global Power Sleeveless Tank at this week’s Mutua Madrilena Masters — including Carlos Moya, Feliciano Lopez, Stefan Koubek — Rafa was the only one who made it work.

The key lies in the colors: the white headbands and the grey shorts worn Moya and Lopez wash out the shirt. On the other hand, Nadal’s light blue accessories mute the Dark Crystal Blue tank at the same time that his black Global Power Board Shorts help the same blue stand out.

(And it didn’t help the others that they were occasionally still wearing the same tank in the less-vibrant Argon blue shade from Fall ’07)

Buy: Board Shorts are $55 and the Global Power Sleeveless Tank is $55; both available at Midwest Sports.

No fanfare, no dress code: roger debuts winter look

Roger Federer does it again. The World No. 1 is playing yet another Sunday, and this week it’s at the Mutua Madrilena Masters in Madrid. He took out Nicholas Kiefer 6-4, 6-4 in the semis and will face David Nalbandian in the finals. The Argentine “overweight has-been” is showing the form that took him to No. 3 in the world in 2006; he took out Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the semis after beating a rusty Nadal 6-1, 6-2.

Roger’s moved away from his fall “Darth Federer” and his patriotic Davis Cup ensemble. Instead, he goes for an Obsidian Blue version of his custom Nike shirt (that one with the “RF” logo) and pairs it with the Mist Grey Control Shorts.

TSF’s totally okay with the Roger’s haute couture. If you saw what Nike’s selling to the masses for Winter 2007, you’d agree.

What do you think of the look? Tell us!

See an up-close photo of the “RF” on Roger’s shirt (plus a green striped tee for training) after the cut…